Opera stars and pirates fill the Playhouse with joyful sounds

HighlandsOperaCompanyPlayhouse manager Heather Brough is getting used to running in all different directions. When she’s not overseeing the programs and services offered at Hospice North Hastings, she’s working on producing and coordinating a full slate of shows at Bancroft’s historic theatre.

This week is especially busy.

The new sold-out summer theatre camp for kids has launched, under the direction of Creative Director Dianne Winmill and the theatre is filled with excited kids learning to sing, dance and act. These future stars have five days to learn their lines, moves and get their pirate pitch right for two special performances on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 2 and 7pm as part of the “It Takes a Village” Summer Camp.

Winmill says the Pirate Musical will be a blast.

“It’s a mini-musical and a variety show, all performed by young people ages 8-12,” she explains. “This is Infectious enthusiasm at its best.”

That enthusiasm is what is getting the Playhouse team through an incredibly busy summer season that has nine live productions, films and the summer camp project filling the building with joy.

“I’m thankful for the air conditioning,” Brough laughs. “It’s been non-stop work but to see the joy and to hear the positive comments – it’s worth the effort.”

The effort this week includes two TIFF film screenings of the British hit, “Sing Street,” and on Friday night music fans will be treated to a one-night booking with the Highlands Opera Studio when they bring “Opera to Broadway” to Bancroft.

“We booked the opera company during the summer camp so that we would encourage the younger talent to check out the show. All the campers get tickets and we hope this will inspire them in the future,” Brough explains. “We’re enjoying pulling different projects and productions together to make this become even more of an arts hub.”

Highlands Opera Studio Manager Melissa Stephens is enjoying being part of the excitement and she says her traveling production will really grab the attention of music fans.

“The participants in the Highlands Opera Studio will present some of the best loved works from the world of opera and the musical stage,” Stephens says. “The audience will hear solos, duets and ensemble selections from famous productions around the world.”

Stephens says these are some of the best young professional voices Canada has to offer and that it is incredibly powerful to experience the beauty of the unamplified human voice.

So for Brough, Winmill and Stephens it’s going to be a busy week of inspiration and collaboration. For the young stars, the musical talent from the Highlands Opera Studio and for all of those who attend the shows; it should be a hard to forget week of great arts programming.

The Highlands Opera Studio presents “Opera to Broadway” at the Village Playhouse on Friday, Aug. 12 at 8pm. “Pirates the Musical,” offers two shows on Saturday Aug. 13 at 2 and 7pm. Tickets for all shows are available at Harvest Moon, Posies, Hospice House, The Playhouse Box Office, Brush with the North and online at www.boxofficebancroft.com. Playhouse productions proudly support the caring through culture movement that is growing in Bancroft.